Malone warns against complacency: Nuggets 'haven't done a damn thing'
Michael Malone cautioned his Denver Nuggets against premature celebrations with his side up 1-0 on the Miami Heat in the Finals.
"I told our players today, don't read the paper," Malone said Saturday, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. "Don't listen to the folks on the radio and TV saying that this series is over and that we've done something because we haven't done a damn thing."
Denver trounced Miami in Thursday's series opener, storming ahead by as many as 24 en route to a 104-93 home victory. The Heat only held two one-point leads in the opening minutes.
Star center Nikola Jokic finished with a 27-point triple-double in his Finals debut. Four other Nuggets scored in double digits, including Jamal Murray, who had 26 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds.
Malone's side swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the West finals and waited a week for Miami to see off the Boston Celtics, who forced a Game 7 after trailing the series 3-0. The Heat, who won 44 games in the regular season, are just the second No. 8 seed to reach the Finals and are up against the 53-win Nuggets.
Despite needing to get into the playoffs through the play-in tournament, the Heat eliminated the NBA's top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, the New York Knicks, and the Celtics to reach the Finals for the second time in four seasons. Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, who faced Miami often during his time with the Orlando Magic, warned his teammates to not underestimate their opponents ahead of Game 2 on Sunday in Denver.
"You just can't be complacent with this team," Gordon said. "You can't be lackadaisical. ... This team has no quit. They will continue to fight through the entirety of the game. You've got to understand that about this team. You can't take your foot off the gas with these guys."